The Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian is Quesada Cigars’s contribution to the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series for 2015. It also is the second installment of three line extensions to Quesada’s Casa Magna Domus Magnus II (also referred to as Casa Magna D. Magnus II) line called “The Three Good Emperors”. These cigars pay homage to Roman Emperors who oversaw the Roman Empire during its more prosperous times. Each of these three vitolas bring to the table a unique vitola shape and with the Hadrian it introduces a unique vitola referred to as an “inverse salomon press”. Recently I have had an opportunity to smoke the Casa Magna TAA Exclusive Hadrian. Overall I found this to be fun cigar to smoke and one that delivers an excellent smoking experience.
The design of the Hadrian is the inverse of the innovative Salomon Press introduced by Quesada for its Quesada 40th Anniversary and Quesada Oktoberfest lines last year. While the Salomon Press is rounded at the ends and box-pressed in the center, the Hadrian is box-pressed on the ends and rounded toward the center.
The other two installments of the Three Good Emperors Series also feature innovative sizes. The Trajan features a “D” shaped cigar that is box pressed on one side and rounded around the rest of the cigar. The other installment, the Marcus Aurelius is actually a variant of the D. Magnus II Tiberius vitola – which is an elliptical shaped cigar. The difference is that the Marcus Aurelius features the elliptical shape in a pyramid format. The Trajan and Marcus Aurelius are not TAA Exclusive Cigars.
This is not Quesada Cigars’ first time providing a TAA Exclusive Cigar. Several years ago, the Fonseca TAA Signature Series by Manuel Quesada was released as a TAA Exclusive.
The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers listed is 82. As per their web-site, the TAA is defined as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
The TAA Exclusive Series has grown over the past few years and 2015 represents the most ambitious release to date as ten new blends were added to the series. When adding these blends to five on-going TAA releases it brings the total cigars for 2015 available to TAA members to fifteen.
This year, the following new cigars have been released for the 2015 TAA Exclusive Series.
- Asylum Nyctophilia Maduro (*)
- Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian
- Crowned Heads – The Angel’s Anvil 2015
- La Antiguedad TAA Exclusive 2015 Toro by My Father Cigars
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 47
- Nat Sherman Panamericana (*)
- Padrón Serie 1926 No. 47 (Two blends – Maduro and Natural)
- Por Larrañaga TAA En Cedro by Altadis U.S.A.
- Tatuaje TAA 2015
* – Denotes cigar being released in multiple vitolas
The ongoing TAA releases are:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial TAA Exclusive
- Drew Estate Acid Big Bang TAA Exclusive
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive (Natural and Maduro)
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary TAA Exclusive Robusto Grande
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Hadrian uses the same blend components as the rest of the Casa Magna D. Magnus II line. D. Magnus II is a modification to the original Casa Magna Domus Magnus. The original Domus Magnus (I) had a Sun Grown Jalapa wrapper over Nicaraguan tobacco, but that particular wrapper used was limited. The Domus Magnus II brought back the same binder and filler but uses a different and more readily available Jalapa wrapper.
Wrapper: 2007 Jalapa Sun Grown (Nicaraguan)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Plasencia Cigars SA)
A total of seven vitolas have now been made in the Casa Magna D. Magnus II line.
Hadrian: 5 1/2 x 60
Trajan: 5 1/2 x 60 (‘D’ Shape)
Marcus Aurelius: 6 x 64 x 46 (Pyaramid Elliptical)
Tiberius: 6 x 54 (Elliptical shape)
Caligula: 6 x 60 (Box-press perfecto)
Primus: 6 1/2 x 55 (Box-press)
Optimus: 5 3/4 x 52 (Box-press)
Consistent to the rest of the D. Magnus II line, the Hadrian has a chocolate colored Jalapa wrapper. There is a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There are some thin visible veins while most of the wrapper seams are well hidden. As for the shape of the cigar, the rounded section of the cigar (the middle) is where the ring gauge is the largest. There is a thick pig-tail on the cap. As for the cap, I did find it to be a little loosely attached to the two samples I smoked.
Like the other vitolas in the Casa Magna Domus Magnus II line, there are two bands are also on the Hadrian. The primary band is wrapped around the rounded middle section of the D. Magnus II. This band features a large yellow circle surrounded by gold trim. There is a large red stripe going across that circle. On that stripe is the text “MAGNA” in gold font. Above the stripe is the text “CASA” in a smaller gold font right on the yellow circle. Below the circle is the gold font text “D. MAGNUS II” on a yellow ribbon. Below that ribbon is the text “LIMITADA” in gold font on a red stripe. The remainder of the band has brown, black, and gold design on it. On the left side of the band is the text “ESTELI” in black font on a gold ribbon sitting on a brown background. On the right side of the band is the text “NICARAGUA” in black font – also on a gold ribbon sitting on the brown background.
The second band is positioned on the footer and is brown with gold trim. The text “D. MAGNUS II” sits on that background in gold font. Below that text is “LIMITADA” in a smaller gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As opposed to pulling off the pig-tail of the Hadrian, I went with a straight cut to remove both the cap and pig-tail. Given the cap was slightly loose, the cut was easy to make and the cap came off cleanly. From that point I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of earth, floral spice, and some notes of chocolate. Overall I considered the pre-light draw experience of the Hadrian to be on the positive side At this point, I removed the footer band of the Hadrian and moved on the smoking phase.
The start of the Hadrian delivered a mix of earth, white pepper, and chocolate. The chocolate notes contributed some sweetness to the profile. The chocolate is something I have gotten on other D. Magnus II vitolas. When compared to some of the other vitolas, the chocolate notes took a little longer to take control. By the middle of the first third, the chocolate and earth notes were primary. The pepper notes were in the background. There were also some creamy notes in the background which kept the flavor profile smooth. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered a mix of white and black pepper.
When the Hadrian reached the rounded section of the smoke, I found the earth notes took sole possession of being the primary note. The chocolate joined the pepper, and cream notes in the background. I found the chocolate and pepper contributed just the right amount of sweetness and spice respectively. The cream keep the Hadrian on the smooth side.
When the Hadrian returned to the box-pressed section in the last third, I found the flavor profile remained the same. There was a little more pepper than chocolate countering the earth notes. While some of the creaminess diminished, I didn’t find the Hadrian to be rough or harsh. This is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, I found the Hadrian performed well. The burn line and burn path remained straight from start to finish. The resulting ash was light gray and was on the firm side. The ash did come off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
On the two samples I smoked, when the Hadrian transitioned from the rounded part in the middle to the box-pressed part in the last third, there was a slight crack in the wrapper. In both cases I was able to get through it and I found it didn’t have any adverse effects other than requiring more tlc to get through it.
The draw was outstanding. In fact for an unorthodox shaped cigar, I was really surprised. I’d describe the draw as open, but not loose. Overall this was a low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found this cigar to have just enough strength to qualify as a medium to full. As for the flavors, I found them to be on the upper end of medium to full. With both attributes, I didn’t find much fluctuation of intensity from start to finish. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
If you have read many of my write-ups of recent TAA cigars, I have been critical of them being “ordinary”. Certainly with the Casa Magna D. Magnus II TAA Exclusive Hadrian, this is as close to a one of a kind vitola as you can get – and this is exactly what the TAA Exclusive Series has needed. Overall I have found the D. Magnus II blend to be outstanding and one of the best offerings by Quesada. That being said, while the Hadrian didn’t quite reach the level as the D-shaped Trajan did – it still is a very good cigar. The only negative was the wrapper cracking I got, but as I said this was more of a maintenance problem than a adverse effect.
Overall it’s a cigar I’d recommend to the more experienced cigar enthusiast because of the unorthodox shape, but it’s certainly one I would not discourage a novice from smoking. As for myself, this is one of the better TAA cigars I’ve smoked over the past two years. It’s worth a box split and one I would smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split